Spanish kayaker Aniol Serrasolses has plunged down a 20m ice waterfall in the Arctic Circle to acheive the biggest ever recorded descent of a glacial waterfall.
The feat was the climax of a spectacular paddle along a glacial river – including through an ice tunnel – on Bråsvellbreen glacier in Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, all of which is captured in the video below.
“The first time navigating through those rapids was absolutely incredible,” says the 32-year-old Catalan adventurer. “Like kayaking on another planet. It was actually crazier than I ever thought it would be... one of the roughest, most wild and virgin places I've ever seen.”
Serrasolses and his team reached the glacial river following a 36-hour sea voyage followed by 11km of hiking across the glacier.
“That feeling of levitating above the water. You could see the bottom with those textures, with those movements, with those shapes, and you were on top of your kayak totally transparent. You could look down and see everything.”
As the first person to run the waterfall Serrasolses got to name the descent, which will now be known as “Philip’s Ladder” in tribute to the crew member who pulled the ladder for the duration of the 11km trek which enabled the team to get from the boat to the waterfall.
The 45km long Bråsvellbreen (which in English means “The Sudden Swell Glacier”) streams southwards from the ice dome Sørdomen of Austfonna. It got its name in the late 1930s after research revealed that it had undergone a recent huge surge, forming a 10km long tongue into the sea. Bråsvellbreen represents 13% of the total surface of Austfonna, and is well known in the Arctic for its spectacular waterfalls and glacial streams.
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